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holttho
May 21, 2007



As with any hobby, especially a hobby where you are spoiling food to a specific degree, I would STRONGLY recommend you do your first half a dozen or so batches of cheese with regular grocery store brand milk- nothing fancy, just cheap. Not because of any sort of microbial concern, but simply one of skill and experience. Your first few batches will (hopefully) be good, but in the grand scheme of things, they will still be off. A few degrees off on the milk cooking, a few degrees off on the aging, a few % humidity off and a cheese can go from luscious creamy brie to gritty, pasty, piquant disk of ammonia. Nothing hurts an early hobby more than going "gently caress, that cost me $50 to make and it smells like Mr. Clean".

Once you start being able to say "I am going to make a [insert cheese type here] and I know it is going to turn out the way I want." then start upgrading to nice, expensive milk. Only then will your skill be at the minimum level required to bring out the best of what the quality milk has to offer. I saw that a lot over in the Charcuterie thread, someone would make their first ever slab of bacon using $25/lb hand-raised belly and it would inevitably be of middling quality (only by virtue of lack of experience) and you could tell just how disenchanted they were with the whole process. Get your hands on the best stuff available once you know that you aren't going to be the weak point in the process.

Don't worry about raw milk. The danger level of it is exceedingly low, and even if it is a little bad, you're not going to wither up and die, you just might have loose bowels for a day or so.

Make cheese!

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holttho
May 21, 2007



Eh, I only recommend, albeit strongly, to start off using practice materials for the first few times before upgrading. Users should have a sense of their skill level with this sort of project and adjust according to their budget.

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